- Maxs Business

The Highly Collectable Morgan Silver Dollars

Whether you are collecting silver coins as a long-term investment, or for the joy of collecting interesting objects, there are some exquisite pieces in existence. Generally, the value in silver coins is limited to the spot price of the metal (the ‘melt price’), but there are some truly valuable coins, made so because of their uniqueness and desirability by collectors. However, it is the very nature of coin collectors that can make this a fickle investment if you are looking beyond the value in weight of the metal.

Most Collectable Coins

Although their value fluctuates quite significantly, it can take decades between rise and falling prices.

One of the most valuable coins is an 1870 seated liberty silver dollar. With only 15 of them ever made, if you find one you could be looking at a windfall of over USD$ 2,000,000. While the more common American Eagle silver dollar has been in production since 1989 and generally is only worth the price of the silver. However, it does contain quite a bit of silver, so you should be looking at around UDS$20.

Although you do obviously get the exceptions, the majority of collectable silver coins have a collector’s value in the hundreds rather than the thousands you might see in gold collectors’ coins. However, this makes building a beautiful coin collection more accessible – and still a valuable thing.

Morgan Silver Dollar Coins

One of the most collectable American coins are the Morgan silver dollars, although you will find examples worth around $30,000 generally most are worth around $300-500. However, although it is 90%, weighing just over 26 grams the melt value is only around $15 in silver.

History

Named after it’s designer, George T. Morgan, the American dollar coin was first minted in 1878, and continued to be produced until 1904. It was then minted again in 1921. However, during this time less than 750,000 of the coins were ever produced. It is this relative rarity that makes it a highly collectable coin.

Image

On one side of the coin is a profile portrait of lady liberty, on the other side is an eagle with wings outstretched clasping arrows and olive branch.

Production

The Morgan dollars were minted in Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco and Carson City. Each mint usually having its own mint mark. The single 1921 year of production also included production at the Denver mint.

Philadelphia New Orleans San Francisco Carson City Denver
Total 305,437,547 186,097,629 131,188,373 13,862,041 20,345,000

Quantity Produced By Year

Across all mints the number of coins produced in each year fluctuated, which is one of the reasons why you will find a 1895 Morgan dollar (for example) is generally worth more than an 1881 – despite the age difference (full table is available here)

Year Coins Minted Year Coins Minted
1878 22,486,000 1892 6,332,000
1879 27,559,000 1893 1,455,000
1880 27,396,000 1894 3,093,000
1881 27,926,991 1895 850,880
1882 27,573,000 1896 19,876,000
1883 28,469,000 1897 12,651,000
1884 28,136,000 1898 14,386,000
1885 28,697,000 1899 15,182,000
1886 31,423,000 1900 24,960,000
1887 33,611,000 1901 22,566,000
1888 31,990,000 1902 18,160,000
1889 34,651,000 1903 10,343,000
1890 38,042,514 1904 8,812,000
1891 23,562,085 1921 86,730,000

Value

As mentioned, the 1895 minting is the most valuable of the Morgan Silver Dollars, fetching around $30,000. Generally, you will only find it as it comes up in the larger auction houses, but that doesn’t stop every collector from hoping that it will appear in a hidden box of treasure. Unfortunately, this coin is also made rarer by its age, as few coins from this period survive, even if they started out in abundance.

The next coin to look out for is the 1893 Morgan dollar. Again, because of its limited production run this coin is rare, so therefore valuable. You should be able to get one, if you can find it, for between $5,000 and $10,000.

When you start to get into collecting these coins you will discover that they are named along the lines of CC-Morgan or S-Morgan. This refers to the mint marks, the location where the coin was minted. Philadelphia has no mark, Carson City is CC, San Francisco is S, New Orleans is O and Denver is D. Where they have a mint mark you can find this under the “O” of the word ‘dollar’. As different mints produced a different amount of coins, you will generally find the rarer mint to have more valuable coin.